All winter the fish lounge at the bottom of the pond
squinting up now and then toward the cloudy light
beyond the ice, but mostly skulking behind cold wet shadows
like teenage guys down in the basement
hanging out, waiting for life to happen
dreaming elongated nursery rhymes
feeling the submerged sluggish vibrations of the earth
a faint quiver of the moon’s pull on the tides.

After Easter, though, they dopily drift toward the surface
where I am waiting patiently with
something like civilization in mind.
Sooner or later they’ll make the connection:
they get their daily bread from me.
And in return I get
a glimpse of their elusive grace,
their perfect freedom organized into evening ritual.

Easter's ABCs

Let A stand for amaryllis,
B for betray,
C for cast,
and so on until W
want and wake—
the advance men for rapture.

Substitute lilies for amaryllis,
a kiss for betrayal.
Gather a Roman cast,
Jewish law.
to rapture.

Peter wept

He stalks the dark before dawn,
hackles up, a surly chanticleer
with a raised blade, black
tail feathers flicking back and forth.

A fit clenches him whole,
strains his red-combed head
into one shrill remonstrance
that scythes clean through
night’s manifold silence.
An ear bleeds in the courtyard.

Morning now rent,
the sun hangs low by a wire,
a naked bulb bearing down on this day
the full weight of tendered debt:
I never knew him.

The rooster glints green;
his round eyes dart;
he scratches and stabs the dust
for seed at the foot of a tree.

Another Lent

So here we go again.
The grit of darkened seasons past
between the eyes, across the brow.
The purple cloths of grief,
tall cloistered candles, numbered days.
Six more weeks of wintered trudging
through a wilderness bereft of alleluias.
All this to show that everything we know—
and are—is dust
and will return in just the way it came
and always has come.
Yet, here and there, bent brave above the snow
the clustered Lenten rose bleeds color
from pale sunlight,
gently points itself toward a cross,
an emptied cave,
that bright unending summer
glimpsed in childhood,
and forever after longed for
past the terminus of measured time.


More than half taken up
on the reel, the tape
plays Mozart’s Requiem.
By my front walk
three crocuses, blue
with saffron suns, thrive—
an early spring’s pledge.

At the same time
snow is falling.
It flies aloft
as if some dandelion clock
has blown apart ahead of season;
not a winter’s spite.

The reel takes up the slack
of the Lacrymosa
and I take on the year

its space
its flow
its breath.